In a recent incident, a 23-year-old Dalit youth was allegedly smashed to death by a group upper caste people just because that he sat alongside them, on a chair and ate his food. As per the reports, the incident took place in Tehri district of Uttrakhand on April 26.
The family of the deceased, named Jitender Das, alleged that he was assaulted by upper caste people during a wedding reception in Nainbagh Tehsil of the district on April 26. Jitender was then taken to local community centre, but was referred to Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital on April 28 where he succumbed to his deadly injuries.
In the wake of Jitender’s death, his relatives and people from his village sat on dharna outside the hospital where his body was sent for postmortem. The victim’s sister told TOI that the wedding where her brother was ruthlessly attacked was a Dalit wedding.
“It was our cousin’s marriage. My brother made the mistake that he took food from the same counter from where upper caste people were eating. He then sat on a chair next to them,” said Pooja.
“This infuriated them (upper caste men),” Pooja said.
“Woh bole yeh neech jaati ka humare sath nahi kha sakta. Khayega to marega (They said this lower caste person cannot sit and eat along with us. If he does, he will be beaten up). My brother was the sole-earning member of our family. What will we do now? The accused are threatening us to withdraw the case,” she added.
After talking to TOI during the protest, she fainted. A large police force has been deployed outside the hospital on Sunday evening after annoyed villagers threatened to march to CM’s house in a bid to seek justice for the murdered youth.
Sandeep Khanna, one of the members of Panchayat from Nainbagh tehsil, who was accompanying the family to Dehradun to meet the Chief Minister told TOI that police didn’t file FIR in time and that no arrests have been made despite the culprits have been booked under SC/ST Act.
“They deployed such a large number of police to stop us but they have failed to arrest a single accused in Tehri,” Khanna said.
“Around six months ago, an upper caste man had beaten a Dalit for not giving him liquor. The victim is still missing. Police haven’t filed an FIR in the case even after repeated attempts,” he added.
Times Of India spoke to circle officer, Narendra Nagar, Uttam Singh and he said that victim’s family registered a police complaint of April 28 and the police booked 7 people under SC/ST act and other relevant sections of the IPC. Nivedita Kukreti who is Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) told the newspaper that police is trying to handle situation.
“This matter is of another district. Police are cooperating with the kin but we have to ensure that no untoward incident happens in the city,” she added.
(With TOI inputs)
(This article was originally published in Times of India)